On September 22nd in Fort Frances, Ontario at the Ice for Kids Arena in Superior International Junior Hockey League action, the Fort Frances Lakers hit the ice against the Thief River Norksies in their 2017 – 2018 season opener.
1:04 into the opening period, Charlie Wilkie fires a pass to Laker Julian Uryniuk to give the hosts a 1 – 0 lead. With an unassisted goal at 2:36 of the period, Norskie Cody Aarvig finds the back of Fort Frances goaltdender Rob Ivey to even the game 1 – 1. At 4:29 of the first, Jordan Sgro sinks the go – ahead goal for Fort Frances with Mark Ritcher adding the contributor on Sgro’s goal. Eight seconds before the halfway mark of the opening period, Damien Caringi scores the Lakers third of the contest to bring the lead to 3 – 1 for Frances with Ritcher and Wilkie drawing the helpers on Caringi’s power play goal.
Finding the back of the Norskies net at 11:44 of the middle stanza, Caringi sunk his second of the game for the Lakers with a pass from Jeff Venzon. With 49 seconds left in the period, Parker Simonson sends Thief River into the second intermission down by one with Mitchell Soderberg notching the contributor. With their second unassisted goal of the game, Simonson finds the back of the Laker net at 10:38 of the third. With Thief River on a power play with nine seconds left in the Lakers season opener, Johnny Bennis evens the game 4 – 4 with Alec Daman adding the assist.
Johnny Bennis and Connor Schuster had goals in the shootout to give the Norskies a 5 – 4 win while Julian Uhryniuk sank the lone goal for the Lakers. Fort Frances goaltender Rob Ivy stopped 35 of 38 shots in the Lakers 2017 – 2018 season opener.
Laker coach Wayne Strachan told the Junior Hockey Network that “tonight was a game where we came out like gang busters and had control but looked soft through the biggest parts that we needed to keep pushing and as a result the Norskies battle back and eventually win. A lot of positives and good to see us a full force man wise to see what we have but we need to learn that 60 minutes is a must and you have to close teams out at this level and we did not take advantage of that.”
The Lakers will now head to Thief River Falls, Minnesota to face the Norskies on September 23rd for a 7:00 (CST) p.m puck drop.